Linde’s new IC forklifts herald a new concept
Linde Material Handling has added a new generation of IC counterbalance trucks to its portfolio, creating, what the company is calling – a fit-for-the-future “Swiss Army knife” of intralogistics. The forklifts, in the load capacity range between 2 to 3.5t and called H20 – H35, are fully networked in preparation for all conceivable applications in conjunction with Industry 4.0.
Newly developed from scratch, this forklift generation is based on an extensive data survey: almost a thousand forklift drivers and fleet managers from 26 countries evaluated vehicles during multi-hour “truck clinics” and expressed their wishes ranging from step design to easy accessibility for servicing.
“We listened closely to our customers and passed on their comments to our development engineers,” says Stefan Prokosch, senior vice president of Product Management Industrial Trucks Counterbalance at Linde Material Handling. He continues, “The new vehicles support and protect the drivers in an unprecedented way; they are the most cost-efficient trucks on the market and make material flow even more transparent and productive thanks to wireless communication.”
The trucks come fully networked as standard: subject to stringent security standards, relevant vehicle data is transmitted to a central cloud server in Western Europe which can be accessed by customers and sales partners. In turn, data can also be received and processed. In this way, from now on it will be possible to carry out over-the-air software updates and activate functions such as the load weight display. Prokosch says, “In the future, we can adapt forklifts to changing customer needs throughout their entire life cycle – even needs that we do not know about yet.” Connectivity is already a clear advantage when it comes to servicing with Truck Health Management, remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance enhancing vehicle availability and helping to reduce costs.
Unrestricted all-round visibility is an important prerequisite for quick, precise and safe goods handling when operating forklifts. The Linde Material Handling designers have increased the fields of vision through the lift mast alone by 20% compared with the previous model. Slim A-pillars and asymmetrical mast profiles open up additional viewing windows that make it easier to position the load precisely. The flatter counterweight allows a better rear view; the reinforced glass roof combines maximum visibility with the best possible protection.
The weatherproof cabin of new Linde models H20 to H35 also offers optimum side visibility – because of fully glazed doors. Additionally, the “Protector Frame” concept with overhead tilt cylinders and load-bearing frame ensures mast stability and maximum residual load capacity.
Linde Material Handling pursues its “Vision Zero” safety policy which means that in the long term, the number of accidents will be reduced to zero. Lighting options such as LED Stripes and VertiLight for non-dazzling illumination contribute to this end – as do “intelligent passengers” which include the warning and assistance systems Linde Safety Pilot and Linde Safety Guard, providing important additional information to the driver and helping to prevent mistakes and accidents. The Linde Load Assist is fitted as standard. It actively intervenes as soon as the load approaches the capacity limit.
Linde says that the most important influential factor in material handling is still the human operator – the more ergonomic and safer the working environment, the better operators work. This is why the new Linde forklift generation was designed with the driver at its core. The truck’s step has a height of merely 46.5cm and is more than twice as wide as on previous models. A range of twelve different driver seat options is available – up to a heated super-comfort seat with separately adjustable backrest and automatic weight adjustment. The cockpit offers more than 10cm of increased headroom; freely configurable switches have been integrated into the armrest (Linde Load Control). All forklifts are equipped with an electronic seatbelt monitoring function: If the driver is not wearing a seatbelt, the forklift will travel only at creep speed.
According to Prokosch, the IC drive will remain the number one choice for many customers for the foreseeable future due to its strong performance and straightforward use. “That’s why we attached great importance to optimising the energy consumption and increasing the handling capacity, while reducing emissions at the same time.” Linde Material Handling has achieved this by using a modern, maintenance-friendly industrial engine, integrating a particulate filter as standard and further optimising the Linde hydrostatic drive. Prokosch continues, “Our measurements show that our forklifts are up to 30% more economical than those of our competitors and they are also clearly superior when it comes to handling capacity. This makes them even more cost-efficient throughout their entire service life. At the same time, they are more resource-friendly and produce less hazardous greenhouse gases.”
Linde Material Handling says the series is ringing in a new era from a conceptional point of view: it marks the end of the design separation of IC and electric forklifts. All new counterbalance trucks in the load capacity range of 1.2 to 5t will, from now on, be based on a uniform modular concept. “We want to offer our customers equivalent vehicles for all applications – regardless of the type of drive,” explains Prokosch. In this way, Linde Material Handling makes it easier for customers to embark on the transformation process towards sustainable drive concepts. There is a compelling reason why forklifts with diesel, fuel gas and natural gas drives are the first to be manufactured in line with the new platform concept: “We wanted to meet the Euro V emissions standard for this load capacity class with a new vehicle and offer our customers an IC forklift that sets even higher benchmarks in the industry and is prepared for any Industry 4.0 applications,” says Prokosch, “We’ve done exactly this with our newly launched forklift model.”